Update: Tuesday February 14, 2017
Along the banks of the Delaware River in Fishtown Philadelphia, a cement monolith sits. Its austere concrete walls surrounded by tall razor wire topped chainlink fencing creates an illusion of a caged monster. Eight forbidding rusted smoke stacks reaching toward the sky can easily be imagined into a serpentine creature of biblical proportions. Inside the beast's cold blooded body an empty industrial soul remains. Its heart has long been captured for just a vacant hall of a ribcage remains, yet within the echoey darkness its secret powers still lurk. This desolate demon I speak of is better known as the Delaware River Generating Station. A massive coal burning power plant seemingly carved from a block of solid cement way back in 1917. This Beaux-Arts beauty takes up an astonishing 223,000 square feet, yet its footprint seems to be hardly noticed within the bustling Philadelphia metropolis. Shuttered in 2004 this behemoth of a power plant is perhaps best recognized as the first cement reinforced power station to ever have been built. Today however, its only claim to glory is perhaps its designation on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. But despite such an honor the building sits empty, attracting only those brave enough to tame monsters before redevelopment slaughters them.
Blog Update: Tuesday January 17, 2017
I never gave a shit about Doris Duke. To me she was nothing more than an over exaggerated, dead celebrity. A have-done-nothing human who reached a status quo of fame through inheriting her father's riches. Because of such an opinion I never bothered to further research Doris's legacy or fame beyond what could be read within the first paragraph on the Wikipedia page dedicated to her name...
Blog Update: Monday December 19, 2016
A sea of cement blankets a massive expanse of vacant land jetting out like a deformed elbow into the Hudson River within a sleepy Upstate New York town. Just past town the stately river begins to narrow from its widest point a few miles north, before snaking below the span of the Tappanzee Bridge and flowing south past New York City. From an aerial perspective on Google Maps this cement sea appears more as a desert; void of any forms of life...
Update: Sunday October 23, 2016
Often hidden below the surface adventures can exist which would otherwise be invisible to an untrained eye. Such is the case with the eastern most portal of the DuPont Cladding Tunnel. The DuPont name has roots which trace back all the way to 1802 when it was originally founded as a gunpowder mill. DuPont quickly grew and expanded to have gunpowder factories situated all over the country. However my interest parallels with the former DuPont Pompton Lakes Works Manufacturing facility which was in operation for over 92 years before ceasing in 1994. During the sites time in operation it produced various explosives and blasting caps for the United States Government during both World Wars. But today nothing physical remains on the former site except for some empty cement slabs and foundations where buildings once stood and overgrown fields. However curiosity began to prove me wrong upon learning about a series of tunnels blasted through a mountain which supposedly still existed on site. The tunnels were officially referred to as Cladding Tunnels and were utilized as hidden/secret areas to both coat materials with explosive powder as well as to test explosives outside of the public's eye. Supposedly the tunnels had been sealed since the 1970's. Currently the site remains as a massive brown fields, 576 acres of undeveloped land for the area is deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) to be extremely contaminated. Environmental restoration efforts have been initiated but the site will undoubtedly remain polluted for many decades to follow.
Update: Monday May 31, 2016
The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (N.A.W.C.A.D.) for the United States Navy opened in 1953 as a jet engine test facility, however the property dates back a few decades earlier to the 1940's when it was used as the Skillman Airport, a small county airport located just outside of Trenton, NJ. Between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War in the late 1940's, the US Navy began to have the need for more modern and efficient aircraft and at which time established the The Naval Air Warfare Center: Aircraft Division and then in 1953 opened the Naval Air Warfare Center Trenton. The navy base employed over 700 people who worked secretly on some of the most advanced jet engine testing technology for the time. The base continued to operate through he 1980's and into the early 90's until 1993 when the Base Closure and Realignment Commission recommended the closure of the Trenton facility. The base was decommissioned and officially closed in 1997 and has subsequently been left abandoned ever since. The land is currently part of the Trenton-Mercer Airport but in 2013 was supposedly acquired by a charity to end homelessness, however no development plans nor demolition has ever begun. Currently NAWCAD remains vacant, the property a superfund site, polluted with industrial chemicals from decades past.
Update: Sunday March 20, 2016
New Jersey Turnpike, Exit 8, a rusty water tower topped with the initials "NL" rises out from the farmland just off the shoulder of the northbound lanes. Thousands drive by everyday, but only the curious stop to see why. A short walk through the adjacent woods buffering the sounds from the highway proves this sight to be the former location of National Lead Industries paint laboratory. Constructed during the early 1960's, this laboratory was built primarily as a facility to conduct scientific research on the application of lead paint within various products. The early 60's was a time before the dangers associated of lead paint were widely recognized, thus lead was being used in all sorts of products from standard wall paint to toys for infants and toddlers to chew on. However during the 1970's the ill-effects of lead paint became a major political issue and thus lead containing products became nearly completely outlawed and strictly regulated by the government. Ultimately this lead (heh) to the downsize and eventual closure of many lead based chemical companies across the country. Today the laboratory remains as a complete ruin. Overtaken by nature, vines and ivy hold the decaying walls together as ceiling tiles and light fixtures dangle from the collapsing beams. Yet still the epic water tower looms tall over the New Jersey Turnpike, a forbidding icon of a now known neurotoxin. And while the NL logo has since faded, it has now been topped with the new initials from a daring NJ tagging icon.
Update: Sunday January 10, 2016
Originally constructed in 1890 as a luxury hotel called Halcyon Hall, the wooden building consisted of nearly 200 rooms featuring a lavish interior design which matched the Queen Anne style architecture ever so present of the grand edifice of the building. But perhaps due to Halcyon Hall's remote location, its original intent as a hotel never caught on and the business closed in 1901 and the building remained vacant for the years to follow. It wasn't until 1907 that the building was purchased by Miss May Bennett, the founder of the prominent and expanding all women's college entitled Bennett School for Girls, which at the time existed in Irvington NY. It was in that year the Halcyon Hall became the new home for the Bennett School for Girls. The all girls college thrived right up to around 1970 at which point the idea of single-sex education became less and less popular. By 1977 the idea of coeducation had completely transformed the American education system, forcing the antiquated same-sex philosophy endorsed by the Bennett School for Girls to fail. Ultimately the all girls' school was forced to file for bankruptcy and ultimately closed its doors later that year. The school has essentially remained abandoned since the late 1970's as redevelopment attempts during 80's failed. Today the school still remains as an icon, although now just a beacon for illicit adventure, as its decaying facade and crumbling architecture attract the curious minded by the hundreds each year. At any given time people can be seen snapping pictures of the front of the school from the main road which passes by and well worn paths in the weeds hint toward how to sneak into the decaying symbol for adventure.
Blog Update: Sunday November 29, 2015
Doris Duke, an American heiress. Inheritor of money, born into privilege and next in line kin celebrity living off the profits of her deceased father's American Tobacco and Duke Energy Companies fortunes. The chance of being born directly into substantial inherited wealth should not be presented with any royal significance nor boasted about. Rather, the potential of that human to then make the world a better place for others with such fortune should be the deciding factor of their faux or fact celebrity status and ultimate legacy...